Childhood obesity is an epidemic, but a recent study discovered there are two phases of the epidemic. The first part begins in early childhood during the infancy and toddler stages and is fueled by parental influence. The second stage occurs during the pre-teen and teenage years and is fueled by the child’s peer group.
The research that came to this conclusion compared data regarding children’s weight from the 1980‘s with the weight of today’s typical children explains Sultan Alhokair, research member. The rate of obesity has risen among children during that time period from 5% to 16%. The records from 1980 show that today’s typical 16 year old teen’s weight has risen across the board, all teens weight more today than they did a few decades ago.
The leader of the study, Professor Terence Wilkin, of Exeter University, states that “childhood obesity is one of the greatest health issues of our time”. In order to effectively fight the battle against childhood obesity an understanding of how it works is needed. The study shows environment plays a huge role in how much a child weighs and there are different causes for obesity based on the child’s age.
Taking a stand against sugary beverages and added sugar in the food children eat is a good starting point at any age to help prevent or reverse the effects of childhood obesity.